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Deputy Consul General Sehon Marshall. (Photo: LinkedIn)
Deputy Consul General Sehon Marshall. (Photo: LinkedIn)

As at midday Thursday, political activist, Sehon Marshall was not yet confirmed as this country’s Deputy Consul General to  New York, but Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sen. Camillo Gonsalves, told I-Witness News that Marshall was the government’s choice for the position.

“Mr. Marshall’s name was submitted to Cabinet, Cabinet has approved the name and it has been sent forward to the Public Service Commission to go through its regular processes. As of now, I am not aware that they have formalized their processes, and Mr. Marshall has not as yet signed a contract,” Gonsalves said.

The post became vacant in February, when former Seventh-day Adventist pastor, Edson Augustus, was fired for taking money from persons in the United States and promising to help them source US Permanent Resident Cards (“Green Cards”), the government said.

“… there are many a slip between cup and lip, and it has not been finalised,” Gonsalves said of Marshall’s appointment.

“It is unfortunate that it is already in the public domain and I would like to wait until everything is finalised before I make any formal announcement in that regard,” he said.

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Marshall is going through the formalities of becoming a diplomat at a time when he is being criticised by Vincentians at home and abroad for comments he made about Vincentians in the diaspora.

Speaking on a radio programme within the last two weeks, Marshall said that before the Unity Labour Party (ULP) came to office, civil servants used to quit their jobs and migrate to the United States to become nannies and dog walkers.

“I want you to tell me since the ULP has taken over in 2001, which teacher, which nurse, or which policeman has resigned his or her job and gone America to babysit people children or walk people dog?” said Marshall, who taught school from 1991 to 1999.

“The reality is that these people are there in the USA right now, they are in Canada right now, and the people they left here in the same jobs are better off in St. Vincent than those persons in the US.

“… These people in St. Vincent and the Grenadines can buy a ticket and go to New York, even if they have to take a small loan from Teachers’ Credit Union or GECCU and so on, and go up and come back for summer, but those individuals, a lot of those individuals who left in those times — and they left as teacher, they left as police, they left as nurses, they went up and they did less than illustrious jobs — they can’t even afford a passage to come back home. Some of them have never come back home, and that’s a fact,” Marshall said.

“If those persons who left, if you were to do a comparison between a number of them — not all of them, of course – a number of those teachers who left and went to the US and Canada and so forth and those teachers who stayed, you will well find that the teachers who stayed are in a much better position than those who resigned their teaching jobs and left. They have property, they have vehicle, a lot of them have gone on and done the BA too — they have a bachelor’s and so forth.

“A number of our diasporans, they have not been able to do a lot in terms of even self improvement, so that if they come back now, what they will have is probably the same couple subject of the School Leaving Certificate with which they left St. Vincent and the Grenadines. That is the point I am making, and I not trying to create a division. So, even in the US where they went, even in Canada where they went, times are hard; a lot of it is because they are not straight, some of it is because they have not upgraded themselves, but the reality is, if you were to do a comparison with the professionals they left here doing the same teaching jobs and themselves, a lot of them will realise that “maybe if I had stayed I would be better off,”” Marshall said.

‘I have not heard the comment’

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Camillo Gonsalves. (IWN file photo)
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Camillo Gonsalves. (IWN file photo)

Gonsalves, who was overseas at the time of the radio programme, told I-Witness News on Thursday that he has not heard Marshall’s comments.

“I have not heard the comment so I don’t want to comment on the comment because I haven’t heard either the actual words that were used, or the context in which they were used, so I don’t want to comment.

“What I will say is that I have lived in various Vincentian diasporas at one point or another in my life, most recently in the New York diaspora, and I know there are Vincentians in the diaspora in New York, in Canada, in England, all about, from all walks of life, from all professional backgrounds, but two things unite them: one thing that unites them is their sense of home and being a Vincentian, and the other thing that unites them is their desire to work hard and to better themselves and their families’ lives, and I think those are two features that are universal among members of our Vincentian diaspora,” said  Gonsalves, a former ambassador to the United Nations.

“I think the role of every member of our Vincentian diaspora should be celebrated, because to get up and leave your home to go to a foreign land to try to better yourself or your family is a very brave act, it’s a noble act, and I want to salute every member of our diaspora and say that the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines is willing to partner with you not only to develop St. Vincent and the Grenadines but to try to make you life in your adopted homeland easier and more fruitful,” the foreign affairs minister said.

Marshall recently completed a Master of Arts degree in international relations and affairs at Khazar University in Azerbaijan.

He is a former co-host of the “Morning Scoop” programme on the ULP-owned radio station, Star Radio.

18 replies on “Controversy as gov’t considers Sehon for diplomat post”

  1. See hand nah learn nothing ina that country dey e language run um bazadee. I wonder who Camillow think he is cooling eh. His response suggest otherwise. Damage control between the lines.

    His claims are bogus. My sister and aunt are a few of those nannies. They would have packed barrels with their money for teachers nurses and policemen who are supposedly doing netter than them here. I assume then that the deportees from those same countries are as a result of NDP too. 18+14=32 years ago and still its NDP.I am tire of this shit and I am a young voter whose mind was just made up. All i know and experience is labor. Thanks sehon and Camillo- the lies did it too much to handle and not notice.

  2. James the lion monroe says:

    Mr marshall, if people in svg are living better than us in the diaspora, then why are vincentians leaving home by the droves to come up here? I guess they would rather walk dogs and become nannies, rather than to live in svg. At least we can critize our govt without disappearing. Why do we have to send barrels back home to help our families if life was better in svg. I love svg, but don’t critize us in the diaspora, cause without us, svg would be in worse condition. we help our people better than your govt.

  3. What Mr mashalll said is the fact a lot of Vincentian who left St Vincent as Teachers,Police ,and Nurses are now living iin New York in people basement some of them are in jail many of them does not know where there next meal is coming from much more to buy a ticket to go home …Most of the ladies does baby sitting and the men does construction. If they was in St vincent their lives would of been a lot better. I heard it from their own mouth”,if i was home my life would of been different” Why cut off Mr Marshall neck for the truth. I live in New York and see and hear these Vincentian almost everyday,This is not what I heard.

  4. And that statement is considered controversial! Says who! Says who?
    I too, know of a few so-call professional Vincentians who migrated, and who became Sanitation workers, (Garbage men), Bus drivers, Home Care Attendants (servants), Nannies, dog-walkers, Elevator Operators, Low paying Security Guards and etc, things they wouldn’t have done in SVG but had too abroad, simply because the environment was too challenging, or too fast paced at the time; and it takes a while to adjust, and the end usually justifies the means, and that is to make a buck. So Sehon aint too far off- track with his comments, and for speaking what we all know to be the truth he shouldn’t hold this or any other higher office in the SVG government! GEESEUN BREAD PEOPLE! Or is it CHEESE N BREAD?” I thought the “opposition” went out ‘ah business”? So who opposing this? Kenton? Lol!

  5. If Mr. Marshall made that comment i don’t see whats so controversial about it, there is truth in that, i can personally attest to that.
    yes quite a number of our nationals are able to get in the system of which ever country they go to and move up the social strata however this is a very small percentage when compared to the amount of migrants. and mind you quite a lot of our people suffer humiliation that goes unreported because of their immigration status in those said countries. in my opinion i am quite suited to speak because i was one of those persons who went from being undocumented to documented and now living back here in ST. Vincent. i have seen it and lived it and yes his sentiments ring true.
    maybe just maybe one of the reasons why this issue has not been addressed properly is because no-one has spoken out.
    and if you do get that post Mr. Marshall congratulations. those early morning bus rides from north leeward to school really meant something. i was there too.

  6. Joshua Richardson says:

    Congratulations Mr. Marshall. I know that you will do us proud, keep telling it as it is.Your role is not to make excuses for those of us who choose to be illegal immigrants in another country. Minister Gonsalves made a wise choice.

  7. Isn’t this the same guy that say that Vincentians just want piece of food and that they lazy? And the same guy who was making fun and trying to look down on babysitters in North America? This guy makes me sick, my mom babysat when i was growing up and sent me to school and she is a nurse in North America, I am now a network engineer, all thanks to babysitting and my grandparents who took care of me for a good part of my childhood in SVG were Farmers and they took good care of me, and I am thankful and proud of them today.

    Now people would understand why SVG is the way it is, the people in Government look down on people and have no respect. This is the reason why a government could put farmers on poor relief and somehow thinks they are doing them a favor. It’s a sick bunch of people we are dealing with. Wasn’t this also the same guy who was involve in leaking documents of Vincentians who filed for refugee status in Canada?

    Just Imagine what he would leak when he is in New York, we are going to hear all how doesn’t have papers and who not straight. This guy better not come to New York, that’s all I can say.

  8. This format need to be fix one person can come on using more than one alias trying to mislead people by making them think that it is a different posters. What is wrong with someone doing babysitting jobs thou? They make a minimum of $500 dollars to over $1200 a week that darn good money. Someone talk about work in construction and on garbage truck those are two of the best paid jobs here in NYC and Sanitation is one of the hardest job to get, first you have to take a very hard test then you can be on a waiting for five years if you pass. Starting at $50,000 a year with great health and retirement benefits. Don’t knock people for a honest pay check especially when that same money is propping the same St Vincent.

  9. This is poor use of language for a potential diplomat. While one must seek to always speak the truth ( and this is not the full truth), the way he said what he did demonstrates his inability to be respectful when speaking about hard working, honest Vincentians regardless of the job they choose to do. Somehow they still mostly earn enough to send home thousands of barrels and remittances amounting to more than 10% of our GDP. How then could he imply that they are badly off? Why are so many of us still still dreaming of leaving this country and why has our homebased population not significantly increased over the past decade? We all live here and we know why.

  10. James the lion monroe says:

    yo hooo pstt, i like what you wrote, man but, can you answer this for me please. Have you ever heard of any govt in the world having to borrow money from it’s financial institition to pay it’s workers. where are they going to borrow from, to pay back the financial institution, We have a serious problem here, but the people will be bribed into voting them into a 4th term, and they will truly be f…..d.

  11. So Marshall wants to be diplomat to the said people he puts down? Isnt this is hypocrisy at the highest? Why then is he coming to the US to represent those who baby sit people’s children or walk people’s dog? Wouldn’t it be better if he stayed home and become “better off” or go to Azerbaijan? Also, if these dog walkers and baby sitters can’t come home, why is the Argyle Airport being waved in front of their faces like a golden carrot, for support of its construction? After all, they cant even afford a pssage? Can they? Is this man for real? So, If they satyed they would have been better off? At least they will collect Social Security Pension when they retire but can civil servants in SVG say the same with confidence?

    It is also laughabe to hear how Gonsales did the damage control on this. As the saying goes: Like father, like son. They never hear anything. So why are the gullible vincies putting these jokers in office. When will vincentians see the light? Fool me once. Shame on you!

  12. While Marshall’s comment may have some merit, there are things that are so politically sensitive you just don’t say them. Marshall has demonstrated here that he is not diplomatic material. Although he is not lying, some diplomacy should have been used while referring to the migrants. After all, these are the same folks he has to deal with in his new post. Maybe Camillo should sit him down and teach him a thing or two. Who knows? Marshall’s next comment might target one of our international allies. Knowing what to say is one of the hallmarks of being a diplomat. Marshall already failed the test. He is a loose cannon, WARNING!

  13. This guy knows nothing … If he thought he was insulting folks he failed. Lol.
    He has no idea what a babysitter makes . Ex nurses and teachers are hot commodity here because of their skill set.
    I am sure no one from the Philippines is saying this about their ex nurses who come to the us and work as babysitters.

    Trinidadians are also big in this market.

    I think he may be assuming that all these persons would be undocumented in the us but even those who are make more than teachers and nurses in st Vincent .
    They are honest way to make a living so he has no point.

    And someone here is trying to add bus drivers in New York to the mix . I want then to come up and try to get a job with the MTA. That is a stable good job with Health insurance and 401k.

    And when he comes tell him to go Central Park and see who is really walking dog or google dog walkers in New York.

    Not everyone wants to be a lawyer or a doctor ( that can’t practice anywhere ) or a nurse that don’t get paid when month done or a teacher who teaching a million kids and don’t have the tools to do their jobs properly and is the problem in St Vincent.

    I don’t know of any babysitter who will takes a loan to come home. It’s call purchasing power and having a weekly income affords you that .

    And they would probably rather go to an all inclusive resort somewhere than come home to be bored in a week after you visit all your family .
    You should ask the babysitters how many times they went to DR or Jamaica .. Lol

  14. Mr. Marshall was correct in his blunt assessment but as someone with his portfolio, he should have been a bit more careful as not everyone likes to hear the truth when it’s put bluntly. After the Augustus fiasco, I am leery about the election of someone to such a position when that person is already shrouded in controversy…Too bad that position can’t be filled with a nonpartisan.

  15. Unstatisfied ULP Voter says:

    Even the clowns are there to represent we. What else will this ULP government do? They are hopeless and in mighty distress. It is better they call election. I don’t even know what they are doing.

  16. Dr. Brian J Charles, ESQ says:

    This is an unfortunate comment about people in the diaspora by someone who wants to be deputy Consul to New York. It is not a comment not shared by many Vincentian. The real question is so what if they are domestic workers, construction workers, or as was stated, dog walkers (dog walkers was not popular in the 90s). These are honest living. If our country is to move on we have to change that mindset about social status and on what is considered low level jobs. We cant all work for the government. Many of us expect to come from St. Vincent with CXC/GCE and land a high paying jobs in America or elsewhere. The truth is you are only a high school graduate so what big job do you really expect. In St. Vincent a person with certain amount of O’ levels used to think he or she is above doing certain types of jobs. Give me a break. Again you are only a high school graduate. Moreover, don’t turn your noise up on the babysitter because a babysitter in NYC can take home a grand a week-even more than some so-called big job holders in SVG. Some of these workers in NY are the same ones who pack all the barrels and make your life easier back in St. Vincent. Furthermore, folks who do these jobs usually do it temporarily while they go to school and further their education. Sometimes people stay in these positions after college because they realize that for instance, they can make more as a nanny than as an entry level position for a young college grad. So stop the America bashing and hating. America is still the place where, despite its challenges and there are many, you have so many self made millionaires. If many folks in SVG are not given a government job, they suffer because they don’t have the critical thinking and survival instinct of diasporians. Additionally, there is the implication that most of the folks here are wasting time. Nothing could be further from the truth. It will blow your mind if you were made aware of the types of jobs that Vincentians in the diaspora are working in: Scientist, university heads, law school deans, judges, PHDS in civil engineering, investment bankers, car dealership owners- anything you name, a vincy does it in the diaspora. I only say The USA because this is where I live and know about. Let’s stop the division and unite. Lets stop condescending because it is holding us back. We definitely need a mindset change to move the country forward. We need entrepreneurs, domestic, bankers, teachers, bakers, IP and app workers and some new professions to take us into the 21st century. There are vincy doing big things in the diaspora, just as there are those doing big things at home. Likewise, there vincy who are struggling in America as they should just like they are anywhere else. To not expect that is to be unrealistic. To exaggerate the hardship because you did not expect it to happen is to not be aware of the diversity in individual circumstances.

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